Happy Blogiversary To Me

So I’ve been blogging for 11 years!! (Off and on) I’ve grown and changed so much. My first blog started as a weight loss blog before I ever heard of HAES or fat activism. 

11 years ago I was desperately unhappy and thought how I looked and my size were a measure of my value as a person. I thought running was something you did if a bear was chasing you. I thought Forty was really old. 

An awful lot has changed in the last decade plus one. I have changed careers, homes, and significant others. I have changed the name of my blog. I have lost and gained the same hundred pounds over and over. I have run thousands of miles for fun. I have learned a lot and also refused to learn some things I should have. I am happier and healthier at fifty than I was at 40. I’m curious to see where I will be in another 11 years. 

11th Anniversary is “steel” which works for me; I’m made of steel!

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Steps vs walking

Literally the high point of my week.

Wednesday  was a rough day. I could have ended up with fewer than 1,000 steps. But I didn’t. I pushed myself to walk before bed. It was a hard decision. Between work and family I didn’t have 5 min to myself until about 9 pm. 

I could have justified going to bed. It was late. It was dark. It was freaking cold out. I was tired. But I went out anyway and walked until I hit 8,000 steps.  

If  I had skipped the walk that night, I’m not sure I would have gotten up early yesterday morning to do my 20 min workout (more about that later). I thought about what had motivated me in the past and one thing that worked was to get 8,000 steps no matter what. I know most people have a 10,000 step goal but I think if I had to try for 10,000 when I’m at 800. For me an 8,000 step goal is so much more attainable. 

So I did it and even though it was cold and I’m glad I did it. Every positive choice leads to another positive choice. Each negative choice gives permission for other. Festive choices. 

Having said this, getting in my steps is a stop-gap at best. It isn’t fun and if I do that every day this whole thing will unravel again. It will become a chore. 

So yesterday I made a choice to take a walk.  Unlike getting steps, taking a walk is about taking time for me. It is enjoyable. It builds me up. I chose the middle of the day, in sunshine, and at the beach. There is nothing that I enjoy more. Because of work my time was limited, but I left feeling ebullient. 

Today I tried to get my walk in, but the whole day was a disaster from beginning to end. At 6:30 pm, with a mountain of work still to wade through, I decided to walk. I have to go back to the emails and spreadsheets before bed, but squeezing in a walk while there was a smidgen of daylight seemed better then squeezing it in as midnight approaches. 

And I’m really sure that if I had skip today, I would have been undone again. 

Goal 1: Accountability. 

Pursuant my previous post,  I can’t tackle everything at once or I risk yet another failures. So I’ve decided to pick one goal each week.  

I’m starting this week with accountability because it feels like everything stems from that. For me this means tracking: exercise, steps, food, caffeine, and sleep. I can’t see improvement if I don’t keep track. Notice I didn’t say weight, inches, or clothing size. If my goal is increased energy, those factors aren’t the right measures. 

I have a Fitbit to track steps and feel fairly comfortable using the Fitbit app to track food and exercise. (Steps and exercise are not the same IMHO). But I think I can’t ignore those other measures, so this week my goal is to figure out the best way to track. 

I’m also going to commit to weekly (or more) blog posts.  I find blogging the best way for me to (a) work out my thoughts, (b) stay accountable and, (c) boost my mood. 

Energy Reboot

I’ve tried to restart my running program about 10 times since getting the go ahead from my dr. Each time has failed, not because of injury but because of lack of energy. Here are my top reasons for lack of follow through:

  • I’m too tired 
  • I’m too busy (work, family, politics, etc.)
  • I’m too overwhelmed (see above)
  • It’s too cold, gym is too far, workout clothes don’t fit anymore, excuse of the day…
  • I don’t seem to be getting better. 

I’ve tried to get back on track with eating about 100 times in the last six months. I know which foods  give me energy and make me feel good and which foods give me food cravings and make me feel out of control. Here are my top reasons I fall apart:

  • I’m too tired to cook, shop, prep food
  • I didn’t plan for my day properly
  • I’m in a lousy mood, so I just don’t care anymore
  • I’ve already eaten the wrong thing, so what’s one more
  • If it’s not about weight loss, why can’t I eat what I like?

It’s like a viscous cycle. I eat foods that suck the energy out of me and the. I have no energy. I don’t exercise so I have no energy. 

In addition, I’ve gone back to drinking regular coffee. It started with just a cup or two a week, but progressed to the point where I get a splitting headache if I don’t have 2-3 cups a day. 

After thinking about this for a couple of weeks, I’ve decided that I need a complete reboot. I need the human equivalent of turning it off and turning it back on again. 

I went back to where I started, when the journey was just starting. I need to set small enough goals that I think I can achieve them. I need to take it much more slowly than I have been. Things didn’t break down in a couple of weeks; it was a gradual process of little slips. 

I’m going to stop focusing on trying to be a runner so much. I’m going to put my attention on things that get my energy back. 

So here it is ~ 30 days to reboot my energy:

I need to focus on things that will give me energy. Whole foods, not processed. Eating more proteins and veggies and less sugars.  Avoid wheat. Cut down on caffeine. Move my body every day.  Think about how to improve sleep. 

I don’t have the answers now. I’m going to play with a few things and see how it goes. 

Long Run Long Time Coming

I planned a long run today. I planned on getting up early to do it, but that didn’t happen. I spent several hours talking myself in and out of running at all. But finally I put on the gear, and that really is half the battle. 

I’m really glad I did the full 3.5 miles. This is farther than I’ve been running, but not by so much that I’m overdoing it. I have a plan on MapMyRun that will slowly increase my distance over the next few months. I don’t have an end game right now. It might be 6 miles. It might be 10. If all goes well it might be more. I’m taking it cautiously and am cautiously optimistic as well. 

The real test will be how I feel tomorrow. 

Wanted: Endorphins

My daughter used to say running was my drug of choice, and there was a certain truth to it. I loved getting that “runner’s high” and that kept me going. Signing up for longer runs, running faster, were just ways I chased better highs. 

I’ve been noticing lately that I don’t love running the way I used to and I’m starting to think it has to do with releases endorphins, or lack thereof. 

Today I had the closest thing to a runners high. It showed up in the last half mile of a 2.5 mile run. It wasn’t enough to get me to extend the run. More like a runner’s hiccup rather than a runner’s high. 

I’m not sure what exactly triggers runner’s high. It isn’t strictly a distance or pace thing. I know some runners who never get them (sorry mom). I just know that what flipped me from being someone who runs to a “runner” was largely based on those chemicals that literally make running worth the pain and effort. 

So if you want to know what I’m chasing when you see me running, now you know. I’m chasing my runner’s high. 

Ode to a Not So Bad Run

3 miles is better than 2
14:12 is better than 14:30
45 degrees is better than 34
3 runs this week is better than 1
Feeling that little, tiny flower of empowerment
        rising in your gut through the ash of cynicism and self-doubt
                    is everything.

Recovery has made wax poetic. Not sure why. 

Today was better. My running was better. My emotions were better. My expectation that I might run again this week, that I can get past a “bad run” was better. Just knowing I can get through a bad run helps me get to the next one. 

I’m sure I have many more bad runs in my future. But I also believe they will be followed by better runs. And maybe out there… way, way out there… are some good runs. 

Staycation

I’m not having the best week. Work is hard. Working out is hard. Food issues and body image issues that I thought were behind me are creeping up again. In general, life is hard. 

But now I’m taking care of me for a few days. 3 vacation days (plus weekend). Starting now, I’m taking 5 full days where I’m turning off emails, politics, drama. I’m looking to feed my soul. I’m focusing on friends, loved ones, family. 

We aren’t going anywhere. I’m not setting up a “to-do” list. I may or may not run. I may or may not sleep till noon. I plan on having a lot of sex and alcohol may or may not be involved. 


Most of all, I’m taking a vacation from judging me. To celebrate, I’m taking a beautiful sunset walk. Lots of pics. Lots of rests. Lots ofcontemplation and introspection. No thoughts of shoulda, coulda, woulda. 

For five days. Ready? Set. Go! 

Ode to a Bad Run

It’s too early.
I’m too sick.
     everything hurts
It’s too cold.
    too snowy. too icy.
I really dont want to.

OK, I’m dressed.
Are you happy now.
   Two pants.
     Three sweaters.  
        Wool socks. Gloves. Hat.
It’s still too cold. 

One mile.
That’s all I’m doing.
   sore
   breathing hurts
   is that a cramp
How can I run?

…well it is pretty,
I’ll give you that.
But I’m too slow.
I’m dragging.
I look ridiculous.

Isn’t it supposed to get easier? I’m not having any fun. 

One more mile.
I’m not kidding.
that’s it. I’m done. I…
huh? Look at that… 

I’m done
somehow
huh?

I guess it’s better than no run at all. 

Snow Day Workout

cat-in-snow19Does shoveling snow count as one of my weekly workouts? My fitness app doesn’t include it as a setting but I’m seriously counting it.

christmasThursday we got a huge snowfall that kept most sane people in-doors. I looked at the snow and decided to leave it right where it was. I was happy to use the day in the house as an excuse to take down my Christmas decorations (don’t judge, I’ve been busy).

Friday was really cold out. Most people managed to go back to work but I took advantage of my job that lets me work from home. I stayed indoors, drank waaaay too much coffee, and never made it out of the house.  Every couple of hours I checked the weather app that assured me that Saturday would be much warmer, and thus a better day to get rid of the piles of snow. Maybe most of it would melt off. (Have I mentioned I really hate the cold?)

no-appAnd I was right, mostly. It was much warmer yesterday so a lot of the snow melted. Also I was able to work without being so bundled up; I worked in just a sweater, no coat. Also, the ice was easier to dig up.  On the other hand, the snow that was there was very wet and therefore very heavy.

At some point I picked up something the wrong way or moved the wrong way and pulled something.  So now I have this sharp pins-and-needle feeling running from my lower back, down my leg, and into my heel.  It is incredibly painful so I’m skipping my workout today which means I’m not meeting my weekly goal this week.

melting_snowNext time I’m just going to let the snow melt naturally.